Event: Ecurie25 Visit

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Supercar Sunday – Ecurie25

Today will be a special day. We’ve had an invite to the delivery/unveiling of the new Ferrari 458 at the Supercar Club E25 and I’m all giddy again.  The meeting point is in Sheffield and although E25 is close to where I live, I want to be part of the convoy. With a meeting time is scheduled for 9am I’m fire up the Cayman an hour earlier, my red steed sitting proudly in the garage – hastily washed the evening before. I give the accelerator a little push to separate the disks from now sealed break pads and wake the car from its lazy slumber.

Clearly not happy with this unexpected early morning rise, mighty Cayman shouts at me with Exhibit A.

Failure on dashboard

Failure on dashboard

Oh dear. Lots more redness appears on the dashboard advising me that Cayman was non-too-happy about being woken up.

But we’ve got a meeting to go to and the Cayman is a fundamental requirement of my getting there. A previous phone call to my specialist reveals that this is likely a fault with the temperature sensor. Thankfully the meeting is at Millbrook, so I’m in the right place if something goes bang. So we press on with today’s adventure, red lights guiltily flashing at me from under the cowl.

Ferrari F355 and 360

Ferrari F355 and 360

Heading down the M1 to J34, my visual sensors are heightened to every car on the road. In the opposite direction a Porsche Panamera, then a Cayenne GTS. Not part of my clan today. As my temperature sensor finds an auto-fix and springs back to horizontal like a morning rise, I keep checking the rear view mirror for any supercars that might be joining today’s venture. Nothing there. A few minutes pass and I spot something white and sporting in my mirror. Maybe that’s ‘one of us’?  Now the dilemma – do I slow down and let it pass to see what it is, or do I press on and see if I’m catching something up in front? Decisions, decisions.

Then in my rear view mirror – a bright yellow blob in the distance. That can only mean one thing – Ferrari. As I approach the Meadowhall turn off he’s pulled up behind me. It’s a yellow F355 Spyder and it looks stunning. He pulls up in the lane next to me and coasts around the roundabout onto the viaduct before giving it some beans. The Tubi exhaust note just bounces off the underpass, reminiscent of an F1 car. I’m chasing behind and spot the flames shoot from the exhaust as he changes gear. Awesome!! As we get to the end of the road, I pull up beside him. “Millbrooke?” says I. “Yep! Know where you going?” is the reply. I do, and we set off on green after the driver of a van offers the F355 a race to the next lights.

2 Audi R8's

2 Audi R8's

On arrival we are greeted to the now familiar rainbow spec of automotive manufacturers’ best work in the sporting arena. Classic and modern TVRs, Audi R8’s, Ferrari 430 Scuderia and many more besides. Our yellow friend pulls up next to a silver 360 Spyder – the owner is having teething troubles with his new purchase. “What’s the problem – battery?” asks Jonty (the 355 owner). “Yeah” is the reply as the charging kit comes out of the boot. “Its ok, you’ll get used to it. At least you know one thing, it’s always electrics on these cars. The Italians just can’t do electrics”. “Didn’t know I’d be needing to carry all these bits around with me” said the 360 owner, charging kit in hand.

Jonty knew. “If it breaks every three months, then that’s about right, you’ll have a good car if it’s only going wrong every 3 months”. Aaah, the joys of Ferrari ownership.

After a quick hello to the guys at Millbrooke we set off, back down to the Viaduct before hitting the M1. The aural delights from that underpass are just wonderful! As each of these supercars fly past, my grin just gets bigger and bigger. Then comes the F430 Scuderia, shooting past with a sound so deafeningly loud it literally rumbles through my chest cavity. Not even Bose or JBL can manage the decibels that Ferrari has achieved with this top spec motor. The 360 Capristo behind it – ordinarily a thunderous sound by its on merits is practically silenced by the raw noise coming from the Scud. It’s hard to imagine without actually hearing it – even video can’t capture the deafening “I’m going for it” sound that car can make!

Cayman mirror onto a Ferrari F430

Cayman mirror onto a Ferrari F430

On to the motorway now, so many lovely cars but the 360 and the F430 are light Genies in a magic lamp. One minute they are there, the next – gone. The other cars follow suit and my cop-radar fear gets the better of me and I’m left behind with the hum-drum of Saturday motoring traffic. Only a few miles before a re-group at the services. Time for more chat and get to know the owners a little better. In a full on no-shame request I cheekily ask Tim, the Scud owner, if he could take me for a spin later. “No problem” is the reply!

F430 Scuderia and Ferrari Testarossa

F430 Scuderia and Ferrari Testarossa

Ferrari 458

Ferrari 360 CS

Ferrari 360 CS

Onward now to E25, where the unveiling of the Ferrari 458 will commence shortly. As we are greeted at reception and taken through into a large warehouse. Its dimly lit, with floodlights highlighting just two cars. A 360 Scuderia in the corner and taking centre stage is the new 458, under cover with a large video screen playing in the background footage from E25’s fleet of cars.

The music is distinctly operatic, symbolising everything Italian. A limited number of people at the event highlight its exclusivity with canapé’s and Champaign been offered to guests. The quality of the vocals on the music is crystal clear – as I’m scanning around the building I find the reason: a live Opera singer at the top of the staircase! Impressive stuff.

Not long afterwards we are greeted by Paul, the MD of E25 in Wakefield who gives us a brief insight as to what E25 is about and how proud they are to now have the 458 on the fleet. Two of the female staff then remove the covers from the car, revealing the revolutionary design of this new Supercar.

Ferrari F430 undercover

Ferrari F430 undercover

The 458 is a real step away from the 360/430 design and the angles highlight Ferrari’s new, distinctive lines. From the back it could be on a race track, and the front it could be in Batman’s garage. The interior is mad and the whole thing together looks positively stunning. A road presence like no car I’ve seen since the F40 – and a price tag and performance to match. In my mind marking this as a hybrid of super and hyper car.

Ferrari 458

Ferrari 458

Tim’s buying one.

Ferrari F430 Scuderia

Tim currently owns the F430 Scuderia and a classic Mondial. It’s clear he has a huge passion for Ferrari, having tried other brands (Mclaren, Lamborghini) in a bid to find something different but always coming back to famous Italian breed. “It just feels like others are trying to be like Ferrari” he says.

Tim, the softly spoken, quiet mannered fellow is really into his cars. When I ask about his Ferrari’s he smiles like a child holding his favourite toys at Christmas. “So which do you drive most often?” I ask. “A Golf!” he laughs. He has to leave shortly, saying his goodbyes he says “you want a go don’t you?”. Yes please!

He pulls the car out of the parking space and gestures to sit in the drivers’ seat, I bottle it and jump in as a passenger. I’ve never been intimidated by such a prospect before, but this car is something else. It’s got racing harnesses, paddleshifts, “race” dials and a number of other things which make me think.. “Maybe next time!”. As I get in the car and fiddle about with the harness “What do I do with this then?” I ask. “Put it on” is the reply. And we’re off!

The noise is something else. Its so raw, loud, aggressive – and such fun! Adam later informs me that they could hear us all around the city as the car set off from each set of lights. Inside the car there are acres of carbon fibre – and not much else! It appears that Ferrari have taken an F1 car, shoved a body resembling a road car on the top, then put it up for sale.

The acceleration on this car is like nothing I’ve ever experienced, its rams you in your seat so furiously my head was back and forward like a floppy doll whenever Tim pressed the loud pedal. A pure driving machine that takes it all the way up to 11. Astonishing!

As we wait at a set of lights, I ask Tim “What’s your favourite, Mondial or this?”. He beams a wide smile and thinks about it for a moment. “That’s really difficult. The Mondial is fantastic, I love it – really love it. But this, well – this is just silly. I leave it at work so that if I’ve ever had a bad day this will always cheer me up on the way home”.

Tim is one of the most relaxed characters I’ve ever met.  A very down-to-earth, approachable guy and as with so many people at these events keeps us all inspired to work that bit harder.

Porsche, Lamborghini, Ferrari and Maserati

Porsche, Lamborghini, Ferrari and Maserati near Millbrooke

E25 Club

Juliette is the membership manager at E25. She is very enthusiastic the company and kindly spared Supercardriver some time to talk a little more about the E25 Supercar members club.

How did the company start?
Paul Brown [the MD] has always loved cars. He has a huge passion for Lamborghini and bought a Gallardo himself a few years ago. Friends and family were regularly asking if they could hire his car for weekends, weddings etc. He got thinking about this as a business venture and decided to set up his own Supercar club with the E25 franchise. The business has grown since then and we now have Audi R8’s, Porsches and Ferrari’s on our fleet.

E25 has been running for 4 years with our Wakefield branch celebrating its first birthday this September! We are the only supercar club north of Birmingham, so our location is closer and more convenient for anyone living in the north. To date are the only club with a Ferrari 458 on its fleet.

We currently have around 230 members throughout E25, with 32 of those being in Wakefield. We keep a close eye on the member-to-car ratio to ensure that cars are available for our members when they want them.

Whats the age demographic of the members?
There isn’t a set age for our members, and they range from aged 30 up to late 50’s. We also have corporate customers who give their staff the opportunity to drive our cars.

How do you choose your cars? Do members have a say in what is purchased?
Yes, very much so. We listen to our members to understand what cars they have an interest in. We rotate the fleet regularly to keep the cars fresh and ensure that members have something new to try. We attend lots of events and keep in touch with manufacturers to see what’s up and coming. We have been to see the new McLaren and have expressed an interest in their new car already.

How does the club work?
You pay your subscription and are given a number of credits. There are different levels of membership which and this allows you access to our cars and events. Our standard membership would get you on average 50-110 days worth of use per year, depending on the type of car you choose and the events you attend. We provide high-performance driving tuition at the start of your membership and we meet all our prospective members to make sure that the club is right for them.

Once you have joined, you trade your credits for time with our cars and events. There are no specific restrictions – as long as you have the credits and the car you want is available, you can have it.

We like to have transparency with our club. Our members are free to come here when they like. We are available all the time and have exclusive open days.

As well as the cars, members get access to our organised events. In addition to the more high profile events, such as F1 and track days we also arrange mini road rallies. These are often mid-week and our members can choose one of our cars and come with us for days out. We have recently done a trip to Whitby and are planning others such as the Peak and Lake District. This offers our members to get involved and meet each other. Its offering something more, particularly for those whose schedules don’t allow them to attend weekend events.

What is your favourite car in the fleet?
Ooooh (ponders for a moment..), personally I’ve got a thing for the Astons but I love our little white Gallardo. The R8 is great to drive though!

Do you get to drive them?
[laughs]. We have to take a super-car training course before we are allowed to drive the fleet. This is to ensure we are confident with controls of some of the cars, such as the paddle shift and to understand how they behave in different weather conditions. This means that if we need to take them anywhere we are confident with the controls and can drive them correctly. But we don’t get to take them home unfortunately – they are out most of the time with members although Paul does take the odd one home sometimes!

Supercardriver.com is partnered with E25. If you would like to know more about the club, please contract Juliette on 01924 207812 or email juliette@ecurie25.co.uk

As I leave E25, my car is the only one remaining in the car park, just as another batch of Supercars arrive to see the 458 in the afternoon. They are in for a real treat!

July 2010